Culver City is a city in Los Angeles County several miles south of Beverly Hills and Westwood, east of Santa Monica, and wedged between the 405 freeway and Venice Boulevard. It is a city of strikingly unique architectural experiments, numerous parks and footpaths, and historic lampposts and trees of jacaranda. Culver City is one of the most diverse cities in the Los Angeles County, home to a mix of whites, Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans.
The Ivy Substation with its Mission Revival style design is generally considered the most impressive structure in Culver City. Located at the intersection of Venice and Culver Boulevard, it is a power station built in 1907 for the old Red Car transit line. It is located in a palm tree-filled park and has been converted into a performing arts venue with a seating capacity of 100.
The Helms Bakery at 8800 Venice Boulevard is a WPA landmark that is occupied by local craft shops, furniture dealers, and the music venue Jazz Bakery.
Kirk Douglas Theatre
The Kirk Douglas Theatre at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Duquesne Avenue is a 1948 movie house that has been recently renovated. This historic theatre seats 317 people and hosts musical productions as well as film shoots occasionally.
The Ince Studios at 9336 Washington Boulevard with its Colonial Revival façade used to serve as the movie studio for Thomas Ince, a film pioneer and producer who was a major film-industry figure producing the epic movie, Gone with the Wind. Unfortunately, he was killed on William Hearst’s yacht mysteriously.
Triangle Pictures is another movie studio created by Thomas Ince, located at 10202 Washington Boulevard. The building was funded in part by Harry Culver, the realtor and journalist who founded the city specifically to serve the movie business. During the Golden Era of cinema, the Triangle Pictures studio was occupied by MGM. Today, it is studio lot of Sony’s that is not open to the public.
The early 20th century Culver Hotel at the triangular junction of Washington, Culver, and Duquesne Avenue is the site of much Hollywood history. The hotel has been restored to its past splendor with its red and black interior, checkered floors of marble, and iron railings. The hotel started out as Harry Culver’s office but became a place where stars like Clark Gable and Garbo stayed.
Culver City Hall
The Culver City Hall at 9770 Boulevard is notable for its enormous detached façade. Between the façade’s archway and the actual building is a park where you can learn about the city’s film history through a movie camera.
Hayden Tract is a stretch along Hayden Avenue that is Culver City’s business district, notable for the display of eye-catching architecture you will find there. It is one of LA’s largest collection of experimental designs in architecture. The bizarre buildings here include the Pittard Sullivan at 3535 Hayden, a giant gray box with wooden ribs poking out of its side, the IRS Building which features a jangled-up façade with a white staircase that leads nowhere, and The Box, a gray box with a cubic window at one of the building’s corners. The highlight along the Hayden strip is the Samitaur building. Built in 1995 and located at 3457 S. La Cienega Avenue, it is freakishly large, looks like a gray warehouse, and has skewed lines and sharp points.
Museum of Jurassic Technology
The Museum of Jurassic Technology is at 9341 Venice Boulevard on the north edge of Culver City. It is a science center and art museum, featuring a range of paranormal oddities, from junk collections, to trailer-park artworks, to tiny models of mobile homes and RVs. You’ll also find exhibitions of folk superstitions like an image of dead mice on toast believed to be a cure for bed-wetting and displays of strange insects. The exhibits are shown in dark rooms without any sunlight. All in all, the museum is an unnerving and quirky experience.
Dickey, Jeff. Los Angeles, 3rd Edition. Rough Guides, 2003. ISBN: 1843530589.
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